Friday, October 26, 2012

Our Outdoor Living Room Part 2 - Finishing our Mid-Century Modern Inspired Deck

With our summer months in Minnesota being so short, we do our best to take full advantage of them when they're here.  So, when we bought our mid-century modern Alcoa Care-Free Home, one of the first large projects we wanted to tackle was building a beautiful outdoor space that we could use for entertaining friends and family.  When we purchased the home, it had an ideal location for an outdoor space, complete with a wall of sliding patio doors, but they didn't go anywhere!

Mid century modern home
The living room and patio doors before the deck was constructed

Our Care-Free Home is unique in that it was built with a basement where the original Charles M. Goodman design called for a single floor layout built on a concrete slab.  Because of this, the house sits on a foundation that is 12" higher than the original design intended.  As a result, the home does not have some of the nice walk-out patio areas that the original sales brochure featured.

mid century patio design
Original patio design by Charles M. Goodman from the 1957 Sales brochure
In our first deck post, Creating Our Outdoor Living Room, we developed the design for the deck, set the footings, built the framing and added the decking.  After the deck was built, we stained it gray to match the rest of the trim on the house and added two steps that ran the full width of the deck's surface down to the yard.  At this point it was use-able but still didn't have the mid-century modern design aesthetic we wanted to preserve the unique nature of the home.

Deck design for mid century home
Stained deck surface with completed stairs
Because the deck was in the side yard of the house, we also wanted to create a little privacy from the street. To add more of a mid-century design element, Doug (the family architect and Rob's dad) included a short screen-wall that would match the breezeway fence we had already built and provide a slightly more private environment.
modern fence design
Mid-Century modern breezeway fence that inspired the deck's design
The deck was built so that the weight of the screen wall would sit directly over the footings we had installed when we built the main structure.  The frame for the wall shown here was constructed out of treated lumber and was designed to be wide enough that we could install planter boxes in the top of the wall for added privacy.
modern deck railing design
Building the screen-wall framing for the deck's street side exposure
Once the screen-wall structure was built, we applied horizontal cedar boards to the wall to match the breezeway fence.  They were ripped from 6" x 18' cedar deck boards that were each cut lengthwise into 1 1/4" x 18' strips.  These strips were attached to the frame and stained to match the rest of the deck.

modern fence design
The completed screen-wall from the deck side is about 28" high
Finally, we made a few landscaping changes, extending the landscape edging and rock out to the end of the new wall.  We added some Elijah Blue Fescue grasses and several flowering Weigela bushes to the landscaping area.  The new planters for the deck wall were also added after being planted with Prairie Blues - Little Bluestem grasses to increase the privacy while still allowing a nice view towards the street.

modern fence design
Completed screen-wall with planters and landscaping from the front yard
We were fortunate enough to spent a lot of hours on the deck this summer, and as we wind down to fall we're looking forward to our indoor projects this winter.  Stay tuned for our next post and thanks for reading!


  1. impressive! When are you inviting the fathers over who did the work ?

  2. If there is an army of fathers doing our work, please tell them to be here tomorrow at noon. There's some shiz to be done!

  3. I would but say to you all "impressive information" home inspection

  4. I impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon. Garage Door Repair & Installation Services